This Former Thomas Edison Powerhouse is Becoming a Bagel Shop

With the Acquisition, the Buyer Looks to Grow His East Coast Bagel Operations to the West

By Zach Armstrong

In 1909, a Santa Monica property was constructed as a power facility for Thomas Edison’s electric company; providing power to the Ocean Park neighborhood. Between 1982 and 2011, the vibrant “Powerhouse Theater” put on local plays out of the space. In recent years, Luigi al Teatro served up Italian cuisine from the premises up until a late closing.

Now, an entrepreneur is transforming the property at 3116 2nd Street once more. This time, to expand his bagel ventures to the West Coast.

The 1,500 sq. ft. property was recently sold for $2.5 million from Temple Mishkon (who owned the property and leased it out for the past 70 years) to 2nd Street Santa Monica LLC. Ian Strano of NAI Capital represented Temple Mishkon in the transaction. 2nd Street was represented by Compass.

According to Strano, the buyer is a “wealthy businessman” who owns Uber Bagels; an East Coast bagel shop chain which operates numerous locations across Maryland. Its menu boasts a wide range of breakfast and lunch sandwich items served on several bagel options such as Asiago Bay, Garlic, Whole Wheat, Sesame and Rosemary Sea Salt.

With the new acquisition of the Santa Monica property, the Uber Bagels owner looks to debut Godspeed Bagels, a concept that Strano says will be similar to Uber, only meant for the West Coast. The bagel shop will likely launch operations sometime next year, said Strano.

The property was constructed in 1909 for Edison, which operated several transformers in the facility, providing electric power to those in the surrounding neighborhood. For years, Southern California Edison Power operated out of the property before it was transformed into a theater in 1982 and earned the nickname “Powerhouse.” 

In the mid-90s, the theater underwent a revitalization by Powerhouse Theatre Co. which operated the space until 2011. The property was then marketed as a retail or creative office space. After another renovation in 2016, the space now includes an outdoor patio and garden space. Westside Italian chef Luigi Fineo opened Luigi al Teatro from the property in 2018 before closing in recent years.

Santa Monica Conservancy also established the structure as a historic landmark in recent years, thus protecting it from demolition, according to Strano.

“The interior roof and structure are original and protected from being demolished.” said Ian Strano, Executive Vice President of NAI Capital, in an email to Mirror Media Group. “This is a one of a kind and, therefore, achieved higher pricing. The buyer understood the value of owning a historic building.”

in Dining, News
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